MAJOR traffic jams were reported across the country yesterday as citizens rushed to inspection stations to have their vehicles checked for road-worthiness to avoid being fined $5,000 by licensing officers.
Earlier this week, licensing officials and the TTPS warned the public to ensure their vehicles were road-worthy as exercises to charge errant owners would be ramped up.
On Friday, the TTPS said more than ten people had already been fined $5,000 each for not having inspection certificates for their vehicles.
According to Section 27(11) of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act (48:50), “(a) registered owner of a private motor vehicle or motorcycle, public service motor vehicle, rental car, goods vehicle, omnibus or trailer, who fails to produce the vehicle for inspection or drives the vehicle without obtaining an inspection sticker and certificate in accordance these regulations commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of $5,000.”
Private vehicles must be inspected five years after the manufacture date while transport vehicles must be inspected one year after the licensing date.
From as early as 7 am yesterday, traffic groups on social media warned drivers to stay away from Mausica Road as vehicles were lined up along the side of the highway leading to an inspection station.
Drivers in Freeport and surrounding areas also faced stand still traffic as people crowded to an inspection station close to St Mary’s Junction.
Heavy traffic was also reported surrounding other inspection stations in Cunupia, Port of Spain and San Fernando.
Sunday Newsday checked in with several inspection stations who all had one thing in common this week: an influx of clients from Tuesday onward.
A representative of Kamus Muffler Works in Barataria said although they have a stock of inspection stickers, they were not doing any inspections yesterday.
He said people had taken to lining up as early as 5 am to get their cars inspected since Wednesday.
“On Tuesday we saw more people coming in but the real rush started on Wednesday.”
A representative at Vulcan Motor Services in Laventille said they also have stickers in stock. He described the situation as chaotic, saying people are also lining up at his garage for inspection.
At Valley Auto Centre in Diego Martin, a representative said they have been inspecting up to 100 cars a day since Tuesday.
“It seems as though people did not know they had to get their vehicles inspected before Tuesday, we have had a constant rush since Tuesday and we expect for it to carry well into next week,” she said.
Before the announcement that licensing officers would be cracking down on motorists earlier this week, the woman said they would usually get three or four cars coming in for inspection a day. She too said they have stickers in stock.
Mamoud Mohammed, who runs an inspection station in Sangre Grande, said before Tuesday’s announcement, he had not seen one person come in to inspect their vehicle. He has inspection stickers in stock.
“Since Tuesday, I have been getting about 30 cars for the day but before that, people didn’t come in at all.”
However, many frustrated citizens took to social media to vent over being unable to get inspection stickers at various stations.
One social media user said, “Tell me who sending the country in panic mode now, Central in a mess....tempers flaring and no stickers. Yet we are being told we will be fined a ridiculous amount of money for something we are not responsible for. Failure every where you turn.”
Another described the move to ensure vehicles are road compliant as a “feeding frenzy” by Government.
“Anything for money they doing it’s like a feeding frenzy now, taxes, increase fines, fees, with utilities to come along with property tax and so it goes in this place.”
Another said, “Welcome to Trinidad, where it is easier to get a gun than an inspection sticker.”